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Elise Apolloni named 2017 Telstra Australian Young Business Woman

Amanda Whitley

Young entrepreneur re-imagining pharmacy wins the 2017 Telstra Australian Young Business Women’s Award

Canberra business woman, Elise Apolloni, Managing Partner of Capital Chemist Wanniassa, is the 2017 Telstra Australian Young Business Women’s Award winner.

“I am ecstatic, I feel like I’m floating…and it’s still kind of sinking in—the gravitas of what has happened,” says Elise.

“If you’d asked me four years ago (when she became a partner in Capital Chemist Wanniassa) if this would happen, I would not have believed it in a million years—but you keep putting your hand up for things, and saying ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’ and taking every opportunity and here you are!”

Joe Pollard, Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Group Executive Media and Chief Marketing Officer, praised Elise for “bringing innovation to the pharmacy industry, leading the sector to become more future-ready. Not only is she providing health services and mentoring for the population, she’s an optimist and a motivator. Her vision for improving health care for all Australians is inspirational.”

She’s an impressive young woman, and her win is made all the more remarkable for the circumstances under which she negotiated the final hurdle. Sadly, Elise was attending her father-in-law’s funeral in Griffith on Monday and had to step out of the wake to conduct her two final interviews with the Telstra judges via a less-than-optimal Skype connection. Clearly, Elise’s passion shone through.

“I’m not only trying to transform how our pharmacy operates, but how every pharmacy in the country looks after their people, and make sure the innovations through my business inspire and help pave the way for other pharmacies around the country to do what we do,” she says.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible kind of health professional—there’s no other kind that you can walk in and instantly talk to and get expert advice. There are 900,000 visits to a community pharmacy every single day of the year, and I just want to make sure those interactions count.


Elise also volunteers as a telephone crisis supporter at Lifeline Canberra and as a phone counsellor for the National Pharmacists’ Support Service, as well as becoming an instructor for ‘Mental Health First Aid’.

For her, the key to business success is treating her community like her “family”.

“I see all my customers as a cousin or a sister of a brother—I cry with them, I laugh with them, and we partner in their health care. It’s about building lifelong relationships with people and being there for whatever may happen to do with their health.”

And she’s sure to have one big family cheering her on as she embarks on this next phase of her career.

“I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be bored for the next 12 months. I’ll just continue to keep telling people about the awesome things that pharmacists can do for them, I’ll keep telling pharmacists to really push themselves and try new things to innovate and be the best version of themselves for their community.

“I just want to make the most of every single moment. ”

Winners of the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Award

Business Woman of the Year and For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award

Violet Roumeliotis, CEO, Settlement Services International (SSI), (NSW)

Entrepreneur Award

Hana-Lia Krawchuck, founder, Love to Dream, (NSW)

Public Sector and Academia Award

Professor Leah Bromfield, Co-Director, The Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, (SA)

Corporate and Private Award

Jennifer Franceschi, Managing Director, Fresh Produce Alliance, (WA)

Young Business Women’s Award

Elise Apolloni, Managing Partner, Capital Chemist Wanniassa, (ACT)

Business Woman in Asia Award

Saskia Groen-in’t-Woud, COO, Damco (Singapore)


Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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